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Can’t stop smoking? A new way to quit is now in the U.S.

Wasatch Front

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola), File

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Quitting smoking can be extremely tough on people, causing anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. Quitting becomes miserable, and for some, it’s too much. They turn back to the potentially deadly tobacco sticks or their substitutes.

At the beginning of the year, we posted an article on 5 ways to quit smoking.

That’s when Natalie Clays, the director of Allen Carr’s Easyway here in the United States, contacted ABC4 saying “wait, we have another way!”

After helping bring the program to Australia, and New Zealand, Natalie focused on the United States. The self-help books have been available here for years, but the seminars have not. Natalie thought she could help people quit as they have in the other countries.

The program works by reframing how a person thinks about smoking. The program’s creator Allen Carr was a British author and accountant. He smoked a lot, reportedly 100 cigarettes a day. He was going to hypnotherapy to stop but that wasn’t going too well for him.

He famously said, “I lit up the moment I left the clinic and made my way home…”

According to his books, something stuck with him from those sessions; nicotine (considered the 5th most addicting substance in the world) and the fact that he was an addict.

The story states: “He realized that people smoked to have the feeling of getting back to normal and that non-smokers experienced this feeling all the time.” Carr wanted to arm people with the nicotine trap knowledge and thought if he taught the technique and prepared them, they could walk away.

The program has worked for many people around the world, and operates in 50 countries.

Natalie Clays says, “I smoked for twenty years, tried everything I could to just unsuccessfully quit…Then I tried this, and it worked. It was a horrendous nightmare. I think I am quite a strong, independent, relatively successful individual, and when it came to smoking, I was a wreck, a mess… I saw three hypnotherapists!”

Clays tried all the patches and gum, even the old way of a non-electric nicotine dispenser. They didn’t work for her. When she first found Carr’s program she says she didn’t believe the program would work. “I didn’t think it was possible.”

When it did work. Natalie decided she wanted to help others and trained to help others use the program to quit.

Ex-smokers like Natalie help the people who come to the seminar. She says you smoke all the way through the seminar. It’s not like aversion therapy, but like a smoke break every hour.

Clays says when she was reframing how she thought, she caught herself thinking, “What are you doing?” She described how her mind shifted on how she saw smoking, and that helped her quit.

(AP Photo/Branden Camp)

Natalie says “The physical addiction to nicotine is only a small part of the problem; the main issue and the reason people continue to smoke are psychological, but most methods only address the physical.”

She says if it were physical, you wouldn’t be able to sleep. “People go on craving a cigarette for years when the nicotine is long gone. It’s 99% psychological and 1% physical. Society believes it is physical because we go through these physical withdrawals.”

She points out, “If you ask ten smokers why they smoke, you will get ten different answers: it relaxes me, it relieves stress, boredom, time out, habit, social, I enjoy it. But, can the same cigarette really do all of these things?”

Several celebrities say the program worked for them. Ellen Degeneres, Ashton Kutcher, and Sir Anthony Hopkins, (Hannibal Lecter and Thor’s Odin) say the program helped them stop smoking.

The company’s techniques are now being used to stop drinking too. Popular Netflix comedian Nikki Glaser gives the company credit for helping her stop smoking and drinking.

Natalie says bringing the program to the United States they ran into a few hitches, COVID-19 being one of them, but they have been successful going virtual, although she was looking forward to traveling through America.

Natalie is bringing the program to Salt Lake for the first time on Saturday, February 27, you can watch for details at usa.allencarr.com

There are a lot of ways to quit smoking, and you should do what works best for you. The results vary and a lot depends on you.

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